Preparing Resolutions and Memorials 2019

Preparing for the 2019 Upstate NY Synod Assembly - submitting Resolutions and Memorials 

Synod Assembly may seem so far away (May 30-June 1, 2019), yet much planning has to be done, and some early deadlines exist.  One early deadline is submitting Resolutions and Memorials for consideration by the Synod Council.  The deadline is December 29, 2018.


Resolutions and Memorials are formal ways we can get an assembly of people to consider new ideas or make changes.  What is a Memorial, and how does it differ from a Resolution?  A memo from the Rev. Chris Boerger, Secretary of the ELCA, provides these definitions: 

  • Memorials address broad policy issues and are passed by Synod Assemblies for consideration by the Churchwide Assembly. Synod Councils are not authorized to adopt memorials for submission to the Churchwide Assembly. One of the responsibilities of the Churchwide Assembly, in accordance with provision 12.21.c, in the Constitution, Bylaws, and Continuing Resolutions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, is to "receive and consider proposals from synod assemblies." Once received by the churchwide organization, they are referred to the Memorials Committee, which is appointed by the Church Council to review and make recommendations to the Churchwide Assembly, in accordance with bylaw 12.51.21. The Memorials Committee meets approximately six to eight weeks before the Churchwide Assembly.

  • Resolutions are requests from synods to the Church Council or units or offices of the churchwide organization. Either Synod Assemblies or Synod Councils may originate resolutions. Frequently, Synod Councils pass resolutions between meetings of the Synod Assemblies and forward them directly to the Church Council for consideration or to the Church Council Executive Committee if the desired action involves referral to a unit or office of the churchwide organization.  As a practical matter, resolutions have a more narrow focus than memorials because they are requests for consideration or action by individual units or offices or the Church Council. Thus, for example, a request for the Church Council to recommend a parliamentary rule or action by a unit would be the subject of a resolution, but a request to change an ELCA policy should be a memorial.

At the synod level, conferences may originate resolutions and submit them to the Synod Council for consideration by the Synod Assembly.  Bylaw S7.32.01. of the synod constitution adopted at the 2017 Synod Assembly states:

All resolutions to be proposed to the Assembly shall be directed to the Synod Council. The deadline for submitting such resolutions to the Synod Council is two weeks before its January meeting preceding the Synod Assembly. The Synod Council shall present such resolutions together with its recommendations to the Synod Assembly. All such resolutions shall be distributed to the voting members of the Synod Assembly a minimum of 15 days prior to the opening of the Assembly. Resolutions received by Synod Council after the January deadline, may be addressed by the Synod Council and/or be directly referred to the Reference and Counsel Committee at Synod Assembly.  

The Synod Council shall appoint an ad hoc Reference and Counsel task force to process the resolutions received by Council. At least one member of the ad hoc taskforce shall be a member of the Assembly Reference and Counsel committee. The taskforce should have at least no less than three nor more than five appointed and at least one member will be a Synod Council member.

The ad hoc task force shall submit to Synod Council for its March meeting the recommendations for each resolution taking into consideration the limits stated in S7.32.A17.

It also is important to note that resolutions and memorials are proposals requesting the specified action -they cannot direct the action to be taken.   

If you would like to review the Upstate New York Synod Constitution, it can be found on the Synod website under Resources (here).

Katherine Neugent